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Episode 389: Nerdist Podcast
Ken Levine
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Ken Levine

BioShock creator Ken Levine is on the Nerdist podcast! He sits down with Chris and Chloe to talk all things video games including their reactions to BioShock Infinite, how science and video games are related, and where they all think the future of video gaming is headed!

Check out the Irrational Games website and follow @IGLevine on Twitter!

Watch the BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds trailer and the BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea trailer!

SPOILER ALERT! This episode has shit tons of Bioshock: Infinite spoilers. Ye hath been warned!


  1. Anna says:

    You guys totally ruined Watchmen for me! HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED.

  2. Tyler says:

    Hooray for Skydart! As usual, it was a pleasure to hear her on this podcast. I did feel bad for Chris whenever her questions ran longer, though. It sounded like he was getting a little flustered.

  3. Matthew says:

    Thank you for mentioning the major spoilers in the podcast. I plan on finally getting around to playing Infinite this weekend and have been avoiding as many spoilers as I could. This is a genuine thank you, I will revisit this episode when I have finished the game and am ready to absorb as much content as I can.

  4. Lara says:

    Titanic: Adventure Through Time- way better. (Then Titanic Starship. Not better than BS:I)

  5. Ol Petey says:

    Hm. The last time I played a video game it was Super Mario Bros 3, the summer it came out. It was awesome, perfect even, I thought at the time. Perfect enough to not feel like I needed to play another game since.

    But listening to this has definitely intrigued me.
    I look forward to trying some new things… :)

  6. Johnny Mckerney says:

    Ken is the antithesis to all the rockstar, celebrity, a-hole game developers that have emerged from gaming’s mainstream popularity. He’s intelligent, articulate, and humble.

    His comment on cross pollinating industries is apt, as well, and I look forward to his vision of Logan’s Run, as a fan of the source material and of Ken.

  7. Bag says:

    Its Ken Levine in a parking garage! What a great photo spot!

  8. Christopher says:

    Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock: Infinite. Three bio shock games. Bio means life. Bio is about half of bioshock. Half-Life 3 confirmed.

  9. Nathan says:

    Booker’s detective ID was issued on 1/22/1892. There are also 122 total audio diaries in Bioshock 1. Coincidence?? *tinfoil hat*

  10. luckypantaloons says:

    Screw the Chloe haters, I thought she was a perfect fit for this episode. She’s obviously passionate about the Bioshock series (probably doesn’t hurt that I am too). I thought her questions were all on point and showed a depth of knowledge about the game. Play on playa!

  11. C-Man says:

    @Mark Mon40

    Because SCIENCE FORBID she be excited to talk to someone who makes games she loves, right?

  12. mark mon40 says:

    This is the first time I thought Chloe should just chill out I had to just turn it off. I think its a fair non douche bag assessment.

  13. Dalek says:

    Oh my god, I had no idea that Ken voiced the Circus of Values vending machine! I LOVED the Circus of Values voice. I wish he did the line ‘Hahahahaaaa… Fill your cravings at the circus of values!”

  14. sabius says:

    I like Chloe so much already.

  15. Blinded by Science says:

    Yeah, Chloe isn’t everyone’s cup o’ tea. For some reason she just doesn’t appeal to the douchewad demographic. The bonermuffin quadrant and the assorted cockjocky coteries haven’t really warmed up to her either. Weirdness. Just one of those intangible X-factor things I guess.

  16. amysrevenge says:

    See, this is where Nerdist really shines as a thing – I haven’t and won’t be playing the game (I’ve played exactly two console games to completion in the last 18 years), but I found the interview to be very interesting and entertaining.

    It’s nice to be able to get some serious insight into an adjacent nerdosphere.

  17. Pedak says:

    Ken Levine looks like Steve Carrell.

    Great episode.

  18. Chris. says:

    Chloe episode. Skip.

  19. Jack says:

    Every intro to the Nerdist podcast should be called, “How much does Chris does Chloe?”

  20. Mark says:

    Ken bloody Levine – I love the people you get on this show! Can’t wait to listen to this

  21. Doug says:

    I could listen to Ken talk about writing and games all day. Glad this one was a little longer than normal. Great podcast.

  22. ArchGirl99 says:

    Although completely unrelated to the general content of the podcast the comment about the stuck caps lock key made me laugh. I have gotten half way through an email only to realize I forgot to turn the caps lock off (as an Architect all the text on drawings is typed in all caps).

  23. Sheldon J says:

    How Serendipitous was this podcast! I heard the dlc announcement yesterday, figured I’d better get my ass in gear and find/buy a copy of Bioshock (Because I rented it on my first go, when that was a thing.), got home and figured I’d check who was on the podcast, and BOOM! Sometimes the Giant Blue Cock in the sky really helps a guy out.

  24. Paul says:

    Strom Thurmond

  25. Bryan says:

    My favorite funny Doctor’s name is the Urologist who specializes in vasectomies, Dr. Dick Chopp.

  26. Chris Hardwick says:

    @dec12345: that is a well laid out argument and a fair point as a consumer.

  27. Tillburg says:

    A Bioshock episode from Nerdist and a The Last Of Us episode from Indoor Kids? What is this the best?

  28. Nicholas Cavalcanti says:

    Anyone else notice that the alien Griffin from MIB 3 has the exact same ability as Elizabeth ? I wonder if there`s any relation .

  29. DEC12345 says:

    Chris, with regard to the xbox thing:

    Game consoles can (and do) push updates that modify how you can use the hardware you have purchased, which may reduce or increase the utility of the console you purchased. As a result, trust in the brand is a key buying criteria. “Too little too late” with regard to the new xbox means that despite microsoft caving on an issue, they have burned the trust in the corporation backing the console. In short, once the company has shown that they are willing to put a target on the back of the consumer, and can return to that view post purchase, why put yourself in for that abuse?

  30. RG says:

    (*profoundly hollow, but profoundly GOOD…)

  31. RG says:

    Hmm, interesting. Personally, I had a profoundly hollow feeling like no videogame has ever given me, and in a way that no movie really could, because the outcome relates to YOU, the character whose shoes YOU have been filling, and suddenly… well, yunno.

    It’s also a lot about gradually turning classic archetypes into real humans, which I’m very interested in (in fact, just before picking up the game, I had finished writing a novel that tried to do something similar, so it really resonated with me).

  32. Ben says:

    I saw the ending as being pretty happy. It’s not the mega happy ending, but it’s open to interpretation, and you can interpret those open bits in a positive way.

  33. RG says:

    Man, the fact that people dislike Bioshock Infinite’s ending is kinda sad, really. I feel like some people can’t process negative emotions very well, and that’s a shame, because there’s value in them. To me, Bioshock Infinite was the first game to provide truly serious storytelling, and the fact that the ending was… well, what it was… is a huge asset. Sometimes I don’t think people realize that “good ending” is not synonymous with “feel-good ending.”

    If games can be less about wish fulfillment, they CAN be a true narrative art form, and Bioshock Infinite achieves this. But until players stop complaining about endings, the industry will always be a day late and a dollar short. Personally, I think it would be a crime to punish the developers because the sense of immersion they inspired was just too vast to have a satisfying wrap-up.

  34. guymandude says:

    Here’s that thing about levitation.

  35. MichiganJack says:

    Fantastic Nerdistcast! It’s always great to listen to Ken Levine. I really do miss the occasional “Irrational Podcast” with Ken Levine and Shawn Elliott.

    Greatly looking forward to Burial at Sea expansion. In the mean time I will be playing Civilization V: Brave New World, and finish up my second play-through of BioShock 1.

  36. @Overlord: YES. There are A LOT of spoilers. A lot. Avoid if you still want to play Infinite.

    @Clivo: thanks! they were excellent costumes made by Kristen Carr.

    @SteveRVA: Jon’s female moisture index has been named “Hamm Water” by Science.

    @Sam: You are not missed. By anyone.

  37. boB says:

    O Internet, what stupid shit won’t thou say?

    I look forward to this podcast; even not being a Bioshock fan at all, I’m intrigued by video game behind-the-scenes discussions. And with Chloe being on podcasts. So fun!

  38. Kristoffer says:

    Great episode. Loved the Elizabeth/Booker Cosplay disaster. Missed Mira though.

    I would’ve loved to have heard more about Ken’s time at Looking Glass and developing the Thief game as it is one of my favorite games.

  39. Christopher says:

    YEPPERS, spoilers are in this episode.

  40. Geoff says:

    This will have to wait until I actually play the game. Oh well.

    Also, to Sam and anyone else in this category, lay off Chloe. At the very least in this episode, she probably fits in more than Jonah or Matt since she’s definitely played the game.

  41. SteveRVA says:

    John Hamm makes Chole wet.

  42. Overlord says:

    Are there Bio Shock Infinite spoilers in here? I’ve still have an episode of Indoor Kids on hold till I play it.

  43. Christopher says:

    Totally thought this was the TV writer when it got brought up in an earlier hostful. BUT, really happy and glad to listen to this!

  44. Jon says:

    Sam, did you had a bad night or are you usually that miserable?

  45. Futurehero says:

    I’m just gonna go ahead and say it, Chloe needs to be in more of your podcasts.

  46. clivodimars says:

    hahahahahaha. the Booker and Elizabeth cosplay. Thank you for sharing. Im stil laughing.

  47. Sam Shmill says:

    I miss Janet! At least she didn’t ruin everything that was funny!

  48. Tom Steele says:

    or maybe I need to listen to 309 again. my memory stinks.

  49. Tom Steele says:

    when are you guys gonna interview the other K. Levine?

  50. Mccrackelz says:

    Behold! the neogaf spoiler thread.

    This is one hell of a rabbit hole… I liked the ending. Don’t care who knows it.